Monday, April 27, 2009

The SAC – Superior Art Creations All-Time Member List Project Update

scr-sac.NFO I am trying for a while now to create an all time Superior Art Creations member list. This is unfortunately no easy task, because the information in the SAC.NFO files of the SAC Pack releases were not always as well maintained as they should have been. I don’t want to point and blame anybody, but its is pretty tough to get a clear picture of who is who and who was in when as what, with the amount of information that can be extracted from the releases of the group itself.

Here is what I came up with so for. The stuff that is high lighted with an orange background is where I would be happy, if anybody has an answer to my question or the missing information, whatever the case might be.

Also, the whole last section with “Non-Contributing Temp Members” is open for input. Listed there are names that were mentioned that they are members of SAC, but I could not find any contribution of those guys in any of the SAC art packs. Maybe they did something under the name of SAC, but nothing that found its way into an art pack. If that is the case, then I want of course give the credits where credits are due and remove that person from the “non-contributing” section.


If you know any of the folks where questions are still in the room or if you have any tip how or where I could find out more about them etc. Please let me know. The comments section of this blog post would do just fine.

I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

# Handles / Aliases File Prefix(es) Country PPE PRG VGA MFX ANS ASC ADM Notes/Comments
Contributing Members (Included in Art Packs)                
1 2Fast 2F
Germany           X    
2 Acen AC
Germany       X        
3 Allanon ALN
Sweden           X    
4 Antibody ANTI / AB Denmark     X   X X    
5 Argon Factor AR Germany       X        
6 Arlequin ARL / AR Argentina         X X    
7 Asphyx ASX
France     X   X X    
8 Axess AXS
Germany     X X        
9 Barium B5
n/a     X   X X    
10 Bazilla BAZ
Germany     X          
11 Brane BNE
Sweden           X    
12 Cokine COK
Sweden     X          
13 Comrade COM
Canada   X            
14 Creator CRE
Australia     X          
15 Creature of Hell COH / CH USA     X X X      
16 Crome CROME / CRM Germany       X        
17 cRu / Maverick CRU
Germany         X X    
18 Crusader CDR
Sweden           X    
19 D0n DN
n/a           X    
Germany       X        
21 Dalezy / The Unconsciousness / Animal DLZ / TU / AN Germany       X        
22 Dark Star / Puschel DS / PL Germany     X   X X    
23 Davek DKNY
USA         X X    
24 Desolation Angel DA
USA     X          
25 Dipswitch DIP
Germany           X    
26 Don Rapello DON
Finland           X    
27 Dream Design DD
Germany   X X   X      
28 DW0 DW0
n/a         X     What's the full name?
29 Eboy EB
Finland     X   X X    
30 Edge ED
USA     X          
31 Ex0 EX0
Australia         X X    
32 F0st FST / FS France     X     X    
33 Ferrex FRX / FX Germany   X X   X X    
34 Flames FLAMES
Germany     X     X    
35 Fourth 4TH
n/a           X    
36 Geareo MYD
n/a           X    
37 Giovanni GIO
Germany       X        
38 Grap GP
Germany   X            
39 GrymmJack GJ
USA           X    
Canada     X   X X    
41 Helix HLX
USA           X    
42 Hetero HT
Germany   X X   X X    
43 HKultra HKU
n/a     X          
44 IxLover Buddha IX
n/a     X     X    
45 [K] K Germany   X X          
46 Kaethe KT
Germany         X X    
47 Kenet K
France     X          
Poland   X           What does KMX stand for?
49 Maktone MT / M1 Sweden       X        
50 Markgoh MG
Canada           X    
51 Marky MY / M Germany     X     X    
52 Matador MTD
Russia   X       X    
53 Mattey MATTEY
n/a     X          
54 McBarn MB
Sweden       X        
55 Midfit MF
Germany   X            
56 Moolok MOO
Germany     X   X      
57 Mr.Death MRDEATH / MRD Sweden       X        
58 Mr.Jezus MRJEZUS
Finland     X          
59 Mydknight MID
Canada           X    
60 Myth MYTH
Germany   X            
61 Neophyte NP
Germany   X            
62 Nerv NERV / NR France     X   X X    
63 Nova N Australia     X          
64 Pasha P
Germany     X     X    
n/a           X   PDZ = Podzi?
66 Poldi PD
Germany     X   X X    
67 Quasar QS
Sweden           X    
68 Rainer RN
Germany       X        
69 Raiser RS
Germany         X X    
70 Rave RV
Germany     X   X X    
71 Rez REZ
Netherlands   X   X       Is Rez an abbreviation?
72 Roodolph ROO Poland           X    
73 Roy ROY
Germany/USA X X X   X X    
74 RZ RZ
n/a           X   RZ = Rahzel? Uses }8]a or }8] as sig in pics
75 S! S!
n/a           X   S! = Stylez or S! = Serges or somebody else?
76 Scour SCR
USA           X    
77 Senser SNS
France     X   X X    
78 Sergeon Cuts SERGEON
USA     X          
79 Stonehedge SH
Germany       X        
80 Shaq SQ Russia           X    
81 Shot ST
Germany         X      
82 Silent SiL
n/a     X          
83 sOul SOUL
Germany       X        
84 Spectrum SPC
Germany   X            
85 Spoon SPN
Germany       X        
86 Sprocket SPROCKET
Norway     X          
87 Squizzy SQZ
Netherlands           X    
88 Strike Light SL
Canada         X X    
89 Svenzzon SVENZZON / SVEN / SV n/a       X   X    
90 Synec SY
Germany   X            
91 Techbit TB
Canada     X          
92 Teepak TPK
Germany     X   X X    
93 Toxic Trancer TOX
94 v0uck VK
n/a           X    
95 W.O.T.W. WOTW
Germany       X        
96 Webpige0 W0
n/a     X   X X    
SAC PPE Coders (Had no file prefix)                
97 Cyz   Germany X              
98 Monster   Germany X              
99 Fox   Germany X              
100 Cyber Brain   Germany X              
Administrative Members                    
Internet Coordinators, except for Idiana who did Group Management and Organization
101 Hoziris   Israel             X  
102 Cercyon   Germany             X  
103 Corex   Germany             X  
104 Idiana   Germany             X  
Guest Contributors                    
Included in one or more SAC Pack releases, but never had status of SAC member
n/a Z80 Z80 Germany   1            
Non Contributing Temp Members                
This list may includes members where I could not match them up confidentially with a file prefix from the pack.
It could also be that one person is listed with multiple nick names or real name.
If you know of any contributions to the group and it to the comments please.
  Ripper   Germany                
  Prosthesis   Finland                
  Paledeth   Sweden                
  White Zombie TWZ Denmark                
  Darkheart   Sweden                
  Felix   Germany                
  Timelord   Italy                
  Necrotoad   Canada                
  Nitrifik   Sweden                
  Spinsane SP n/a                
  Xeek XK n/a                
  PODZI   n/a               Podzi = PDZ
  Stylez   Germany               Styles = S!?
  Serges   n/a               Serges = S!?
  Sick Doctor   n/a               Serges = Sick Doctor?
  Rahzel   n/a               Rahzel = RZ?
  Shady   Germany               Shady = S!?

Explanation of Columns
PPE = PCBoard BBS Tools Programmer (using PPL-PCBoard Programming Language, which are compiled to PPE’s)
PRG = Programmer/Coder of Intros, tools etc. such as the SACtros for SAC artpack releases.
VGA = Pixel Art Graphician and later also hi-res art via Photoshop etc.
MFX = Musician, mainly old-school tracker MOD modules (or FastTracker, ScreamTracker etc.)
ANS = ANSI text artist (like the image below)
ASC = ASCII text artist, 7-Bit and/or “high ASCII” (Block ASCII)
ADM = Administrative work, Internet Coordinator, Bot-Master (IRC) and those sorts of things)w0-sacns.ANS

I am feeling that we come slowly but surely closer to the goal of having a complete and correct all-time Superior Art Creations member list that I can post on the SAC section of the site as I promised to do so already two or some more years ago.


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Sunday, April 26, 2009

De-Dupe Files Script Tool for Windows 32bit V2.0beta

I know, it’s less than a month that I introduced the De-Dupe script Version 1.1. See my original blog post where I introduced the script here. I used the script myself quite a lot and implemented improvements and additional features to it as a consequence of it.
I won’t post the whole source code in this post this time though, because it got significantly bigger and would cause problems with loading the post in your web browser. Well, the code is still included in the install package of the script/tool and 42KB zipped is not very much to download, isn’t it.
Download De-Dupe V2.0 Beta (

The background story and general file structure remained the same, but I made a lot other changes, especially “under the hood”.  The most important improvement is the PERFORMANCE. Where V1.1 was taking several minutes to process, V2.0 only takes seconds instead. De-Duping folders with thousands and not just hundreds of files is now NOT A PROBLEM for this script anymore. Here are the details:

Name of the Software: DeDupe Files Script Tool
Author: Carsten Cumbrowski
Version 2.0 beta
License: Freeware
Date: April 2009

Visit for resources to web and database development and internet marketing. There you can also find the contact page with various means to get in touch with the author of this tool.

The script detects duplicate files within a directory.

Duplicate files are files that have the same MD5 Check Sum value.
Two DIFFERENT/NON IDENTICAL files having the same MD5 Check Sum is not impossible, but highly unlikely.
This allows the script to detect duplicate files regardless of their file name or other characteristics, such as "date created" or "date modified".

The tool scans all files within a directory. It does not include files in sub directories of the processed folder.


The Script now supports Multi-Threading for the MD5 Checksum determination. That was the bottle-neck of the previous version of the script. The default is set to 50 threads, but it can be changed in the settings or on the fly via the command line switch /threads:NN where NN should be a number greater than or equal 1. I don't know the maximum value here, because it depends on the machine where the script runs on.

Be careful and only increase it in small steps to increase performance even more. The thread count starts actually with 0, which means, that if you set /threads:49 (default) then you actually get 50 threads.

Dupe Actions

There are 5 different Actions you can choose from to tell the script what to do, if it finds a duplicate file

  1. rename dupe to aFile1_EXT_bFile2[DEDUPED].EXT where aFile1 is the original file followed by "_" and its EXT(ension), "_"     bFile2 is the original base file name of the Dupe followed by [DEDUPED] and the dupe files original .EXT(ension)
  2. Rename dupes as in 1, but MOVE to a new sub folder "[Deduped]" of the path being processed
  3. (DEFAULT ACTION) Don't rename dupes, just MOVE to a new sub folder "[Deduped]"
  4. delete dupes (gone for good, unless you enabled "Recycled Bin" to be able to recover deleted files
  5. Create sub folder at specified location (/cdb:BACKUPPATH) with name "yyyy-mm-dd_hh-mm-ss_FolderName",  create index file !Index.txt with archive location and name and original locations of files, separated by "|"

The Default DeDupe Action can be overwritten via the command line option
/action:[1...5] , e.g. /action:3  for the default Action


Dupe Actions

Dupe Action (1)
If a duplicate file is found, it will be renamed by by appending the original file name as prefix with an '_' as separator, which is also used to replace the "." that indicates the file extension of the original file name (other "." in the file name itself remain). At the end of the file name is the string [DEDUPED] added.

For Example aFile1.EXT and bFile2.EXT are identical. After the script was executed, one of the two files will remain as it is and the other one is being renamed. Which file will be considered the "original" is determined by which file was found first. The script sorts the files by name first, before it dedupes them.

In this example bFile1.EXT would be considered the original and bFile2.EXT will be renamed to aFile1_EXT_bFile2[DEDUPED].EXT. This makes dupes appear right after the original, if you sort the directory by file name. To be able to filter the dupes to copy/move them away or to delete them, use the copy, move or del command in MS DOS. For example "DEL *[DEDUPED].*" would delete all duplicate files found and renamed by the script.

Dupe Action (2)
If you want the dupes renamed as in Action 1, but would like to have them moved away from the source directory, choose Dupe Action 2. Dupes are still being renamed as in (1), but the script moves the dupes to a sub directory called "[DeDuped]" within the processed folder.

Dupe Action (3)
If you just want the dupes moved away from the source folder, but keep the original file names, use this Dupe Action (which is the default action btw)  You will find the duplicate files all in the subfolder "[DeDuped]" in the processed folder.

Dupe Action (4)
If you simply want to get rid of the dupes and delete them, use this Action

Dupe Action (5)
A variation of Action 3. The Difference is that the dupes are not moved to a sub folder below the processed file folder, but to a central dupe archive folder, where a new sub directory is being created with the date and time of the DeDupe processing and the Folder Name that was DeDuped.

The default location for that centralized backup folder is "C:\[DEDUPE_BACKUP]", but that can be changed. Either via the registry settings or on the fly via command line option:


Log Files

The script creates one file by default and the second one optional in the processed directory:

- (optional feature) a list of all files in the directory and their MD5 Check Sum Values (tab separated)

"!DeDupeLog.txt" - (enabled by default) a processing logfile where you can find the list of dupes that were detected, their old & new file name and the corresponding original file

If you do not want any of the files to be created, change the options for "WriteFileList" and "WriteDeDupeLog" to "0" in the beginning of the code of "DedupeFilesInFolder2.vbs" ; alternatively use the command line options /log:[0/1] and /list:[0/1] to turn the creation of the list and/or log on/off. You can also specify a different file name for the file list and the DeDupe log, but you cannot change the path.

/list:0 or /list:1

/log:0 or /log:1

You can also suppress all dialogs via the command line option /quite:[0/1]. /quite:1 would disable the progress dialog, results message and all error messages.

/quite:0 or /quite:1

Note, the script returns error levels for batch processing regardless of the "quiet" settings.
The ErrorLevel codes are:

0 = Script Ran Successful
1 = Script Ran, but there were no files to process
2 = The script was aborted (only relevant if progress dialog is on)
4 = Script Error (md5sum.exe not or processing path not found)

Important. Version 2 of the Script enforces execution with CSCRIPT.EXE it re-launches itself, if it is executed with WSCRIPT.EXE. It is doing exactly that on purpose, if executed via the Shell Extension. If you are using the Quiet option and want to get the correct ErrorLevel back, you must execute the script with CSCRIPT.EXE from your application!


Use the provided Batch Scripts "DeDupeInstall.bat" and "DeDupeUnInstall.bat" to install or un-install the De-Dupe Shell Extension.


Double click on the Batch Script File "DeDupeInstall.bat"
That's it.

The install batch file copies md5sum.exe and DedupeFilesInFolder2.vbs into your System32 directory under your windows installation directory and Imports the registry file "DedupeInstall.reg" into your systems registry database. It creates entries under the Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Directory\shell\

Non of the files in the installation directory will be needed anymore to run the script itself. You will need them only to uninstall the tool or to re-install it again, if necessary.


Double click on the Batch Script File "DeDupeUnInstall.bat"
That's it.

The Un-Install batch file deletes the two files from your System32 directory and utilizes the registry file DedupeUnInstall.reg to remove the entries for the script from your systems registry database. If you want to continue to use the tool md5sum.exe and only want to disable the shell extension, either simply double click on the file DedupeUnInstall.reg without executing the uninstall batch file (the script DedupeFilesInFolder2.vbs
will remain in your System32 folder though) or you can copy the tool back into your system folder manually after you ran the uninstall batch file.

Script Settings in the System Registry

The Install Script automatically creates the default settings for the the script execution in the Windows Registry.
If you did not use the install script and run the DeDupe script for the first time, the script will create the missing registry entries based on the default values specified in the script code itself. Those settings are specifically of importance for the use of the DeDupe shell extension in Windows Explorer.

The settings in the registry are set for each Windows User separately.
To find and modify the settings, open the Registry Editor that comes with Windows. (Start / Run, enter: Regedit, press "enter")

Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ DeDupe2 \ Parameters

Value Name               Type        Default Value          Command Line Param Equivalent
CentralDupeBackupFolder  REG_SZ      C:\[DEDUPE_BACKUP]            /cdb:PATH
DeDupeLogFName           REG_SZ      !DeDupeLog.txt                /logfile:FILENAME
DupeAction               REG_DWORD   3                             /action:N
FileListFName            REG_SZ      !DeDupe-FileList.txt          /listfile:FILENAME
MaxForks                 REG_DWORD   31 (HEX) or 49 (Decimal)      /threads:NN
Quiet                    REG_DWORD   0                             /quite:N
WriteDeDupeLog           REG_DWORD   1                             /log:N
WriteFileList            REG_DWORD   0                             /list:N

Upgrade from Previous DeDupe Versions

You might noticed that the main script has the name "DedupeFilesInFolder2.vbs". The previous version of the script has the name "DedupeFilesInFolder.vbs"

The install script also creates a different shell extension with the name "DeDupe2". If you installed version 1.x of the script and then use the install script for version 2, both scripts will be installed on your machine. You could continue to use them in parallel, if you want to, but I would not recommend it to the average user. I suggest to run the uninstall script of the previous version first and then the install script of the new version.

Note: If you run the uninstall script of the previous version AFTER you installed version 2 of the script, version 2 will no longer function properly because the uninstall script of the previous version also removes the 3rd party tool "md5sum.exe" from the System Directory. You either have to copy that tool back to the windows system directory manually or run the installation script for Version 2 once more. Doing that will overwrite any settings in the registry, which you might have changed already.

About the Software

The DeDupe Windows Explorer Shell Extension Script Tool is written in VBScript and is executed by the system tool WScript.exe. The DeDupe script (DedupeFilesInFolder2.vbs) uses a small support tool that it requires to work properly.

"md5sum.exe" is a small command line tool that return the MD5 Check Sum value for a file.
It can also validate MD5 check sums, which is a feature that is not used by the DeDupe script.
You can find out more information about it at
Md5Sum was written by

Legal Stuff/Copyright and Disclaimer

The 3rd party tool that come with the DeDupe script is freeware and can be used and copied by anybody without the need of a license or to pay a fee.  Since I did not write that tool, I cannot take any responsibility for any issues that they might cause by it, via my script or without out.

This DeDupe script is also freeware and can be used, copied and modified for free,

Important Disclaimer!

The author, of this software accepts no responsibility for damages resulting from the use of this product and
makes no warranty or representation, either express or implied, including but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

This software is provided "AS IS", and you, its user, assume all risks when using it.

Change Log


  • MD5Sum Determination Issue Resolved for file names with spaces in it
  • Sorting by File Name Issue Resolved, now the "original" is really the first one sorted by name
  • Progress dialog implemented to show status
  • Quiet option implemented to suppress all dialogs
  • Return of ErrorLevels implemented for batch scripts that call the script
  • Rename logic changed, [DEDUPED] added to the renamed file in addition to existing logic
  • touch.exe tool removed. It did not work reliable, period
  • File List output with file names and their MD5 checksums implemented
  • Log File output implemented
  • command line parameters introduced to suppress file list and log file creation as well as to enable/disable "quiet" mode
  • general code clean up


  • MD5Sum Determination now separate Step using Multi-Threading for increased Performance
  • New DupeAction: 2, 3, 4 and 5 implemented
    1. = Rename dupes as in 1, but MOVE to a new sub folder "[Deduped]" of the path being processed
    2. = Don't rename dupes, just MOVE to a new sub folder "[Deduped]"
    3. = delete dupes
    4. = Create sub folder at specified location with name "yyyy-mm-dd_hh-mm-ss_FolderName", create index file "!Index.txt"   with archive location and name and original locations of files, separated by "|"
  • Script now Enforces CSCRIPT.EXE (call from Shell Extension still uses WScript, because if I run it with Cscript from there a stupid DOS Shell Window is visible and open all the time)
  • Message Output changed to use IE because of CSCRIPT execution in batch mode (which suppresses Wscript.echo)
  • Settings now Saved in Registry, Manual overwrite via command line parameters is still possible. Use of Defaults in Code vs. Registry is also an option.

I hope that you will find this script useful. Please let me know your opinion, suggestions, feedback and recommendations for improvements via the comments section down below.


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some Google Tools & Services and Other Annoyances

You know how it is… the small annoyances are the ones that bother us the most, especially if you have to deal with the same thing all the time on an almost daily basis. I am going to show you a few of those annoyances that drive me nuts at the moment.

List of Annoyances Covered by this Post

  • Annoyance #1 – Google YouTube Tag Subscriptions
  • Annoyance #2 – Google YouTube Comments Notification
  • Annoyance #3 – Google YouTube Friend Invites Processing
  • Annoyance #4 – Google Chrome Pop-Up Blocker
  • Annoyance #5 - 4CC Codec Value Case Sensitivity by VirtualDubMod

If you know me, then you know that I usually not simply complain about something, but also provide suggestions and recommendations for solutions to the problem. Maybe you had one or the other issue as well. In that case it would show you that you are not the only person with this issue. If you don’t, then you know about them now. I do this public so maybe we are lucky that somebody reads this, who is actually in the position to do something about one or more of the problems illustrated or somebody reads this who knows somebody who SHOULD read it, because that other person is one of the people who could solve one or more of those problems.

All but one are related to Google products or services and all but one of those related to Google are about their video sharing site YouTube, which I use pretty much daily … rather extensively (having four different accounts there myself, go figure).

Annoyance #1 – Google YouTube Tag Subscriptions

Let me start light with something that I only encountered recently. I never had that issue in the past that it would have been an annoyance, but as you see, things can change over time.

You have the ability in YouTube to subscribe to video updates of other YouTube accounts/channels (I have 4 of those, CirqueDuSoleilGuru would be the most popular one I guess, SACReleases is the second most popular and the remaining two are TurnbeutelvergesserB and CumbrowskiCom) . You also have the ability to subscribe to a certain keyword phrase or word, to get notified, if somebody uploads a video to the site and uses this phrase or word to tag the video. This can be a very effective way to discover video content about things you are interested in and may be not would have found out about yourself otherwise… by coincidence maybe, if you are  lucky.

It works well, as long as the keyword or phrase is unique and highly descriptive of what you are looking for. If the phrase is ambiguous to begin with, it’s already a problem from the get go, but it also happens that previously unique keywords get “poisoned”. Such poisoning happened to the phrase “Circus” to which I subscribed to.

Everything was alright until Britney Spears decided that she had to release a new single with the title “Circus”. Guess what kind of videos I get now for the term “Circus”… right.., Britney Spears videos “ohne Ende”, but that’s not what I am caring about. I am interested in the ancient performing arts involving breathtaking acrobatics and maybe some mindboggling magic and/or amusing clowns.

It would be nice, if I could at least remove the unwanted videos rather quickly. There is no option today. In order to get rid of them in my Subscription/Alert “Inbox” I have to start watching each video first.. one by one. That is really annoying.  In addition to a way to remove videos that I can identify as “not interested in” without watching quickly from the video listing, would it be helpful to be able to configure negative keywords or stop words and/or using advanced search query parameters like AND & OR & NOT to filter results and/or exclude known ambiguous versions of the same keyword phrase,


Annoyance #2 – Google YouTube Comments Notification

Getting a notification about any comment posted to any of your uploaded videos is great, especially if you open up and let people comment and publish those comments without moderating them first (YouTube’s Spam detection routines are actually doing a great job).

Notifications are not only available at your YouTube account, but you also can enable email notification to your primary email address as well.

The problem with this notifications is that you cannot really do much with them as you would probably want to in the one or other case. You can select the notifications and delete them from your inbox (which does not do anything to the actual comment itself). The link to “see all comments” takes you to the same page where the comment that you are looking at can actually be found, if you are lucky. It won’t take you to the comment though and often to a page where this particular comment can nowhere be found. Getting to the actual comment for options usually involves the use of the on-page keyword search (CTRL-F) and clicking of one or more links to get to the page with the comment at all.

There you will finally find all the things that you might want to do with the comment, such as reply to it, mark as spam, remove it all together and maybe even block the whole user, if he frequently posts comments that you manually delete for some reason time and again.

Would it be so hard to make those things already available from the notification message in your inbox? Is it? C’mon, you must be kidding me! :)


Annoyance #3 – Google YouTube Friend Invites Processing

Especially one of my YouTube accounts gets friend invites all the time. Hey, who doesn’t want to be popular and befriended by everybody, right? Well, yeah, but only if that other person really means it and not just tries to befriend you for pure selfish reasons (aka Spam and Attention Whoring).

It takes more time than it should to find out what the real intentions of that other user are, because you don’t have much information about any person who decides to click the “Add to Friends” button on your channel home page. Information that would help with pre-processing the majority of the requests right from the friend invites list screen.

Is the other user a subscriber to your channel? If he is, chances are much better that this person actually cares about what I am doing on YouTube. Did the person add any of my videos to his favorites or any other playlist?

Did the user ever comment on any of my videos, send a video response or personal message? Just a simple YES/NO would be enough. Counts would be even better, but I don’t want to get too demanding here.

Also helpful is the info how many friends that user already has and where he is from. Yes, you can get those two information if you click on the name and visit his channel homepage, but that takes time too and if you do that and press the back button, you won’t get back were you left off, not even to the same section, which makes things twice as bad and even more time consuming.

In my example below you can see how it could look like, if those suggestions would be implemented. Guess which friend request I’d ignore right from that screen without even checking further? Right, the fourth one. Not a subscriber, never fav’ed or bookmarked any of my stuff, never posted a comment or contacted me, but has more friends than I know real people. That user does not care about me and only wants to promote himself. He clicked on “Add as Friend” to as many people he could, maybe even in an automated fashion via a spam tool or script.


Enough of YouTube. There is certainly more than those things that I pointed out, but those are the things that I hate to deal with on a nearly day to day basis. It’s getting old and not necessary really.

Annoyance #4 – Google Chrome Pop-Up Blocker

It is already sad enough that tools like AI Roboform and others do not (cannot?) support the somewhat new Google Chrome web browser. It’s fast, I can attest to that. Yeah, faster than IE (dough) and also faster than FireFox (especially of fully loaded with plug-ins). Google added some tools and features themselves to the browser, such as the Pop-Up blocker, but the bad thing is that this feature fell victim to the wide spread Google syndrome of “smart” (or not) automation with little to no ways for humans to interfere and control the behavior of the feature.

Google’s engineers are often too self-confident that they are able to create a model or algorithm that is capable of predicting the users intentions, needs and goals in every case and at every time, under any possible real life condition and situation. I don’t want to downplay the intelligence of any Google engineer or something like that, but sorry, they should have learned by now that this is simply impossible to do. You can make a good guess and be right most of the time, but you will never be able to get it 100% right every single time.

If you combine this with the disability to manually overwrite unwanted and miss-guessed behavior, you got yourself a classic example of an annoyance on your hands. If you had to use a site that generates legitimate pop-ups that are needed to use that web site properly and each and every one of those pop-ups gets blocked by the browser, requiring additional steps to get to the pop-up window and worse, have close to that action also the option to block all pop-ups entirely and irreversible without the ability to manually get it back, than you will understand what I am so annoyed about.

I hope that my little illustration below shows what I am mean by that. I also added my suggestions to solve those problems to that illustration as well. The simple and short answer is: WHITE LIST option please! Thanks.


Annoyance #5 - 4CC Codec Value Case Sensitivity by VirtualDubMod

Update: I found a solution for this annoyance, but I am not really happy about it. Anyway, the problem goes away, if you install FFDSHOW, an open source video decoding/codecs/filters  package/utility(ies). You can download the latest version of FFDSHOW at I wish I would understand what FFDSHOW does to make it work to be able to fix this problem without the need to install the whole FFDSHOW package. :( 

Okay, Google is now of the hook for the time being. Others create annoyances as well. It’s not an exclusive right that Google has bunked for their products and services. VirtualDub is a nice little (and entirely free) tool for the manipulation and conversation of video files. It has many filters and plug-ins to be able to read various video source formats and to enhance or manipulate those videos. At the end you always get out an AVI file, but you have can have a wide variety of AUDIO and VIDEO encoder options that you can use. AVI is only a very broad and widely supported container, unlike some other video formats, such as Adobe Flash (FLV) or Apple Quick Time (MOV) that are limited in which video and/or audio encoding algorithm can be used.

A popular video codec that I prefer to use for my AVI files is XVID, which is a freeware Mpeg-4 based video codec, like the popular commercial codec Div/X, but IMO better (compression). The codec that was used for the audio and video in an AVI file is noted in the header section of the file that other tools, such as video players like Windows Media Player are able to open that video file and to use the proper decoders to render the video and audio data on to your screen. I use more than one video converter in addition to VirtualDub, such as MP4Converter by 4Media for most video sources and Moyea FLV Converter for Flash Video (FLV) to AVI conversions only. I wrote a special post about the subject of video tools and converters last year, if you are interested in this subject and would like to learn more about it.

Those converters are capable of generating AVI files using the XVID video codec. For whatever reason, those tools write the name (4CC Code) of the codec in lower-case letters into the AVI file header.

For another unknown reason, VirtualDub is case-sensitive when it comes to codec settings in the video file, although “xvid”, “XVID” or “XVid” or “Xvid” always mean the same thing… The 4CC specifications are not case-sensitive. “xvid” and “XVID” therefore cannot be two different video codec variations that could be meant.

VirtualDub does not care. If the codec name in the AVI is “xvid” instead of “XVID”, VirtualDub plays stupid and claims that it does not support the used codec. BS. Of course it does. If I use another free tool to manually change/set the 4CC codec name in the AVI header and change “xvid” to “XVID”, VirtualDub reads and processes that video file without any problems. The video data themselves remained unchanged, only the info in the header was changed. This is a pain in the butt, especially if I want to do batch processing, because I have not found a tool yet that lets me change the 4CC value in an AVI file in a batch process, e.g. via command line options or something like that. I also don’t know how to get the other tools to write XVID in upper-case instead of lower-case into the AVI file headers that they produce.

I did manage somehow on my previous system (before I re-installed everything from scratch) to convince VirtualDub that it can read XVID and also xvid files to then generate new AVI files with XVID used in the header.

I cannot remember how I did that. I tried a number of things with no success so far. If you happen to know the answer to this, please let me know in the comments below. I’d really appreciate it. Until then, why this BS to begin with? Is it so hard for the folks from the VirtualDub open source project to make the tool non-case sensitive when it comes to the 4CC value in the headers of AVI video files? Gee!


Enough Annoyances! I don’t think that anybody in his right mind would have read this whole post, but as I said at the beginning of this post, I felt like having to do this, in the secret hope that somebody will read it, who is in the position to remedy one or more of the mentioned annoyances.

If you had similar or the same problems I had, feel free to tell me and anybody else who reads this post about it. You and me are not alone. Trust me on this one!


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jason Scott from Text-urized

I wrote a while back already a post about the online Image to Text (ASCII) converter tool at

Back then I used Matt Cutts from Google as my Guinea-Pig to illustrate it’s capabilities. This is not the purpose of this blog post though. Shortly after I did my post, I played around with it a bit more. I experimented with a photograph of Jason Scott Sadofsky from (who also did the DVD documentary “BBS – The Documentary”, which I highly recommend, if you are interested in the subject of Bulletin Board Systems)

I tweaked the source photo of him to get better results and saved them on my hard drive and then forgot about them until now. I stumbled across them by accident and thought that I should not hide them, or at least make them accessible for Jason himself.

I took the results from the converter and tweaked them a bit more in Photoshop, adding some color and stuff like that. You can see below the stages of my changes. Click on the thumbnail images for the larger original sized version of it.

tn_JasonScott-7bit-ascii tn_JasonScott-7bit-ascii-color tn_JasonScott-7bit-ascii-color-ccu
Original 7-Bit ASCII as Image. 
Download the original text ASCII file
Colors added Final picture with background added
and name tag

This is the final piece and I hope that Jason (and you too) will like it.


I also created an ANSI version of the photograph with the tool. It is only using the number characters 0-9, but a very small font. The result is good, but it looks to little like an ASCII to me, because of the font size.


This ANSI was actually created as a HTML document. You can see the original HTML/Text version here.

If you are interested in the subject of image to ASCII art conversion, I also suggest to check out my post where I reviewed a number of online and desktop image to text converter tools.

I also wrote a post about video to text conversion via the vlan video player with special conversion plug-in.

If the subject of ASCII and ANSI text art is new to you and you would like to learn more about this old school art form that actually pre-dates the computer, check out my ASCII Art Academy for more resources and information.

Semi-related: Did you see my post about ASCII/RTTY art nudes versus their original Centerfold Photographs?
I still need help with matching up more of the ASCIIs with their source photographs. You can help.


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Cirque du Soleil Show Ovo

The name for the new Cirque du Soleil touring show that will premiere on April 23, 2009 in Montreal, Canada was unveiled. The name is: “OVO”.cds_ovo250

The theme of the show are insects. Yes, you read this right, insects. This also explains the name choice, because here is what Cirque du Soleil themselves stated about it:

The name OVO means "egg" in Portuguese. This timeless symbol of the life cycle and birth of numerous insects represents the underlying thread of the show. Graphically, OVO hides an insect in its name: The two letter "Os" represent the eyes while the letter "V" forms the nose.

The Cirque’s web site was also updated (it used to show simply “Cirque 2009”, which was the working title of the show). There are not much video images of the show available. The official trailer for the show is a just 16 seconds in length with less than half of that being images from the show itself.

Backup Link to Video on
Download this video in AVI format from my account.

There are a few more photographs though, which I made available on my account. I created a new set for the “Ovo” show under my existing Cirque du Soleil photo collection.

This is Cirque’s 25th show production in 25 years. Yes, 2009 also marks the 25th anniversary of the Cirque. Congratulations. They were busy over the past few years. More than half of their 25 shows were created within the past 10 years. Last year 3 shows were launched in a single year in 3 different countries on 2 continents.


What is interesting about OVO is the fact that almost every important person among the creators of the show didn’t play a major role in the creation of any of the previous Cirque productions. Except from the usual mention of Guy among the creators of every Cirque du Soleil show, Jonathan Deans who did the Sound Design for Ovo, is the only person who worked on other shows. Jonathan did the sound design for the Cirque du Soleil touring shows Saltimbanco and Kooza and helped with the lighting design for Corteo.

Deborah Colker wrote and directed the new show and also did the choreography. Director of Creation is Chantal Tremblay, who is not exactly a newbie to Cirque du Soleil. She was Associate Producer for the resident show “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She actually started out as a dancer in Cirque, then became an assistant to choreographer Debra Brown, then Artistic Coordinator and then Artistic Director.

The composer of the music for the show is Berna Ceppas. The music by the early Cirque shows was composed René Dupéré, Benoît Jutras and then later also by Violaine Corradi. That changed over the past years and many new composers were introduced to the Cirque family, including: Jean-François Côté (Kooza), Philippe Leduc (Corteo), Simon Carpentier (Zumanity), Éric Serra (Believe). René Dupéré was busy with the music for Zed and Violaine Corradi for the show Zaia. I don’t know what happened to to Benoît Jutras. Maybe he is busy with one of the other Cirque projects that are currently in production. I am not familiar with Berna Ceppas and his music. I know that he is from Brazil and learned that he has a MySpace page where you can listen to some of his earlier work to get an idea about how the music for Ovo might sound like. The short trailer was unfortunately not long enough to get it from there.

Additional show credits: Set Design and Props: Gringo Cardia, Costume Design: Liz Vandal, Lighting Design: Éric Champoux, Make up: Julie Bégin, Rigging: Fred Gérard, Acrobatics Act Designer: Philippe Aubertin, Artistic Guides: Gilles Ste-Croix & Guy Laliberté.

Cirque du Soleil also launched a Facebook page for Ovo.

Another YouTube user from Germany with I am in touch will be in Montreal for the premiere. I won’t be able to make it myself, but he promised me to let me know about his impressions from the show.

Like the previous touring shows of Cirque du Soleil, Ovo will start its multiple years long journey across Canada, the United States and then the rest of the world, including Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

I hope to have some new video material from the show available soon to post it on my YouTube channel and share it with you. I have already over 350 videos about Cirque du Soleil and related subjects up online. You might want to check it out. Also do not forget my Cirque du Soleil Primer article for facts and information about your favorite Circus, the Cirque du Soleil.